Liquidity: Making Drugs and Making Time in Manchu Medical Recipes
This paper will look closely at the use of Manchu language medical recipes as media of knowledge exchange (about bodies human and non-human, about the place of man in the universe, about the nature and manipulation of the sensorium) in early modern Eurasia. The paper aims to do several things at once. By focusing on the composition and translation of medical recipes at the Qing court in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it will introduce and explore the importance of medical recipes in general, and of Manchu-language recipes specifically, as spaces of encounter in the early modern world. At the same time, it will use this case study to introduce a way of thinking about translation as a way of producing temporality, or literally making time. Finally, it will look carefully at the importance and rendering of liquids (within, on, and outside of human bodies) in Manchu recipe literature to ground the preceding foci (Manchu medical recipes, the making of time) in a more general discussion of narrative forms of flow and their generation of liquid materialities in this context through rhythm, meter, and rhyme.